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High Tide - High Tide CD (album) cover


High Tide


Heavy Prog

3.78 | 175 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Late Sixties British hard rockers High Tide dropped a much-praised debut `Sea Shanties' in 1969 that has come to be regarded as an early example of heavy metal, and a ballsy attack of grinding guitars and battery of drums it proved to be! Much less appreciated is their self-titled follow-up from a year later, but if anything it actually adds more variety and has a refreshing rough-around-the-edges and shambling dirty quality that reminds of what some of the more adventurous German bands of the era would offer. `High Tide' grafts violin (courtesy of future Hawkwind and Third Ear Band member Simon House), alongside little touches of organ, piano and more acoustic guitar flavours this time around, and the LP offers fleeting moments of folk, raga-rock and acid elements woven to the relentless mud-thick sludgy guitars.

Scratchy electric violin intertwines around tricky twisting electric guitar runs throughout opener `Blankman Cries Again'. There's nothing in the way of the punishing obvious riffing of the first album here, instead it's replaced by a plodding slab-like stoniness and overwhelming heaviness that has more in common with Amon Duul 2's defining classic albums, with a wild freedom permeating the whole track. Guitarist Tony Hill's vocals don't hold the same Jim Morrison/Doors-like purr of the debut here, instead they have a more wasted lethargic groan with just a pinch of Pink Floyd's David Gilmour in brief moments.

There's teases of a classier violin sound in the introduction of `The Joke' but it's quickly all crunching drums and serrated guitar slivers, and a dustier raga-rock hypnotic hold takes a firm grip. Almost resembling a more ambitious Message, a more reckless Frumpy or a drowsier Pink Floyd, it culminates in a warmer embracing folk-flecked acoustic finale with very spirited and lightly swooning violin.

The ragged and wild second side `Saneonimous' is packed to the gills with a wonderfully grating and searing tone to the violin, sweetly murmuring bass and snarling acid-rock electric guitar wailing. The piece is constantly anchored by reprising themes and a slurred vocal refrain in between bouts of near-jazzy improvised jamming, making for a cool closer that somehow perfectly balances nicely shambling and energetic abrasiveness - all part of its charm!

Particular listeners will find some of the pieces overlong and repetitive, yet others will perhaps grumble that the disc is only thirty-two minutes long, but the production helps the music avoid being overly clean and helps it retain a grit, and there's a delicious acid-fried toughness that makes it easy to place the album alongside plenty of Krautrock discs. `High Tide' may not enjoy the belated reputation that the debut holds, but there's still much to recommend about it.

Four stars.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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